Emerging Resistance, New Antimicrobial Agents  …  but No Tests! The Challenge of Antimicrobial Susceptibility Testing in the Current US Regulatory Landscape

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Accurate and timely performance of antimicrobial susceptibility testing (AST) by the clinical laboratory is paramount to combating antimicrobial resistance. The ability of laboratories in the United States to effectively perform ASTs is challenged by several factors. Some, such as new resistance mechanisms and the associated evolution of testing recommendations and breakpoints, are inevitable. Others are entirely man-made. These include unnecessarily strict US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) limitations on how commercial AST systems can be used for diagnostic testing, the absence of up-to-date performance data on these systems, and the lack of commercially available FDA-cleared tests for newer antimicrobial agents or for older agents with updated breakpoints. This viewpoint will highlight contemporary AST challenges faced by the clinical laboratory, and propose some solutions.

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